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Steelers win record sixth Super Bowl

TAMPA, Fla. - The Iron City has its six pack of Lombardis.

In front of a crowd of mostly Steelers fans -- just about all of them waving black and gold Terrible Towels, turning Raymond James Stadium into a Florida version of Heinz Field -- Pittsburgh edged Arizona, 27-23, last night in Super Bowl XLIII.

The Steelers earned a record sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy and made Mike Tomlin, 36, the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl. But it wasn't nearly as easy as many expected it would be.

- See photos of Pittsburgh celebrating its victory

- See game photos of the Super Bowl

It was quite an encore to last year's Super Bowl, which many considered the best ever. And those who would argue that last night's game surpassed the Giants' upset of the Patriots have a strong case.

In a fourth quarter for the ages, the final dramatic play in a night full of them came with 35 seconds left. That was when Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes somehow kept both feet in bounds on a 6-yard touchdown pass, capping a 78-yard drive and providing the final margin. Ben Roethlisberger completed four passes to .Holmes for 73 yards on the drive, including a 40-yarder that put the ball at the 6.

"We're going down in history with one of the greatest games ever played in the Super Bowl," Holmes said. "We finished it up the way we needed to and brought another championship back to Pittsburgh."

Said Steelers chairman Dan Rooney: "They are all special. They are all meaningful from one all the way to six."

After trailing 20-7 midway through the fourth quarter, the Cardinals went ahead 23-20 with 2:47 left when Larry Fitzgerald caught his second TD pass of the quarter, a 64-yarder from Kurt Warner. Warner hit Fitzgerald on a slant, with the standout receiver escaping from cornerback Ike Taylor and breaking free to temporarily silence much of the pro-Steelers crowd.

Tomlin's thoughts when Fitzgerald scored?

"I was thinking if they were going to score, you want to them to score quickly," Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger completed 21 of 30 passes for 256 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Holmes caught nine passes for 131 yards.

Warner passed for 377 yards, completing 31 of 43 for three touchdowns and an interception -- a 100-yard return for a TD by linebacker James Harrison as time expired in the first half. Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 127 yards and Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 84 yards for the Cardinals.

It was a mostly ho-hum Super Bowl through three quarters, with Pittsburgh controlling much of the game.

The Cardinals won the coin toss but deferred to the second half, putting their defense, which allowed 49 TDs -- the highest total of any Super Bowl qualifier -- on the field first. The Steelers easily drove downfield, going 71 yards in nine plays, missing out on a touchdown by inches.

On third-and-goal from the 1, Roethlisberger rolled to his right and scrambled into the end zone for an apparent -- and called -- touchdown. But Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt challenged and won, and Tomlin chose to send out Jeff Reed for an 18-yard field goal that made it 3-0.

Hines Ward, knocked out of the AFC Championship Game in the first quarter with a knee injury that held him out of Wednesday's practice, had a 38-yard catch on the drive.

After the Cardinals punted on their first possession, the Steelers forced a punt and went on the move again. They went 69 yards in 11 plays, the final one a 1-yard TD plunge by Gary Russell. The Steelers led 10-0 with 14:01 left in the half and had a 145-13 edge in yards.

But the Cardinals would close both of those gaps, going 83 yards in nine plays. Warner went 7-for-8 on the drive, finishing it with a 1-yard TD pass to tight end Ben Patrick. That made it 10-7 with 8:34 left, but it would not be the half's most spectacular play.

That would come with seconds to go, with the Cardinals appearing as if they'd go ahead at the half or be in a 10-10 tie.

After an interception by linebacker Karlos Dansby on a deflected pass, the Cardinals drove to the 1. On first-and-goal with 18 seconds left, Warner tried to find Boldin on an inside route. Harrison, the league's Defensive Player of the Year, stepped in front of Boldin and rumbled 100 yards. The longest play in Super Bowl history gave the Steelers a 17-7 halftime lead.

Harrison, his fuel tank expired, stayed on the ground for several moments. It took several minutes for referee Terry McAulay to review the play; he ruled the nose of the football had crossed the goal line just before the linebacker was down.

"I was just thinking that I had to do whatever I could to get to the other end zone and get seven," Harrison said.

- See photos of Pittsburgh celebrating its victory

- See game photos of the Super Bowl

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